This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Aston Villa have reportedly entered the race to sign AFC Bournemouth youngster Ajani Burchall according to a recent report from Football Insider.
Burchall has been attracting significant interest from other clubs heading into the summer transfer window, with the likes of Arsenal, Leeds United and West Ham all being keen on landing the 16-year-old’s signature.
He has caught the eye with some strong performances for the club’s Under-18s side, before being given an opportunity in the club’s senior side.
Burchall became Bournemouth’s third-youngest ever player when he made his debut for the club as a substitute in a 5-0 win over relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town.
Aston Villa are the latest club to register their interest in the Cherries youngster, and he’ll now have a tough decision on his hands heading into the summer transfer window.
But which club should Burchall move to in the summer transfer window if he is to depart from AFC Bournemouth?
It’s a hard one to make a firm decision on as all three of them have different pros and cons to the situation.
However at this moment in time perhaps Leeds United are best suited to Burchall and his aspirations of first-team football.
Marcelo Bielsa has used several youngsters in his time at the club such as Pascal Struijk, Jamie Shackleton amongst others, and whilst Burchall is still 16, he could be one of those mercurial talents that progresses very quickly.
West Ham would suit Burchall more for proximity to his current location of Bournemouth, as would Arsenal, but I feel as though he’s got a better chance of developing at Leeds than the other two clubs.
This is a tough one but I’d be leaning towards one of Leeds or Villa if it were me.
West Ham seem fairly well stocked on the flanks, while Arsenal are not short of talented young forwards themselves, so getting a chance at those clubs may be difficult.
Burchall doesn’t want to get stuck in a club’s loan system and I’d worry that might be the case at the two more established top flight sides.
Leeds and Villa are on the up, while both managers have shown they’re willing to put trust in youth.
The prospect of playing under Marcelo Bielsa will surely be huge draw but likewise learning from Jack Grealish could mean he opts for Villa.
One of those two are his best next step, in my eyes.
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I think he would be wise to pluck for West Ham as for me they provide young players with the best pathway to the first team.
He is unlikely to get the opportunities he needs and desires at Arsenal, Leeds and Villa.
As seen in recent years, the Hammers have put a bigger emphasis on bringing through graduates to the first team, and that is sure to appeal to Burchall.
Money talks but I like to think he has the right people around him to direct him to the club which is best suited for his development.